Doctor: What 'To the Bone' got right about eating disorders - KCTV5

Doctor: What 'To the Bone' got right about eating disorders

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Leaders in the eating disorder community say that the new film "To the Bone" is helping increase awareness and conversations around the illness, but some worry about its potential effects. (Netflix) Leaders in the eating disorder community say that the new film "To the Bone" is helping increase awareness and conversations around the illness, but some worry about its potential effects. (Netflix)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The release of the new Netflix film To the Bone has some parents frustrated. It’s centered around eating disorders, and it’s creating worry that teens could mimic what they see.

This is the first week To the Bone is out, and we’re now able to get a doctor's take on the whole film.

One thing of concern is the actor who portrays the 20-year-old woman with anorexia in the movie has had an eating disorder in real life. She had to lose more weight for filming.

So what kind of message does that send to young kids?

"With anorexia, it could be something they just really had kind of thought about and then really pursue it after they see it," said Dr. Lore Nelson with the University of Kansas Health System says the film runs the risk of glamorizing eating disorders.

Nelson works with girls age 10-18, the demographic most susceptible to anorexia. That’s likely the same group of people that will watch.

Her advice for parents? You watch it first.

"It is an illness and it is not healthy and it could have very serious health consequences with it ultimately death," Nelson said.

But she also says the movie shows the importance of getting help and not saying something to trigger that thought in a person. That even applies to doctors.

"We, as medical professionals, need to be really careful how we talk about weight," Nelson said.

Nelson says eating disorders often spark from doctors telling a child who may be overweight that they need to focus on eating healthy and exercising.

In recent years, fewer doctors have begun using the word “weight” around kids. Nelson says she hopes the take away from the movie is if you know someone suffering, get them help.

So what did the cast and crew do that the doctor says they got right? They also filmed a public service announcement for World Eating Disorder Day to raise awareness.

The film did include a content warning, which is good, doctors say. But there were no links or numbers or resources for help.

If you know someone who needs help, the National Eating Disorders Association information and referral helpline is 1-800-931-2237.

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